The collapse of the anti-Taliban resistance obstacle beyond Kokcha; Who was PiramQul Ziayi and how was he killed?
PiramQul Ziayi, known as “Amir PiramQul”, the most prominent and influential anti-Taliban figure in Takhar village, was assassinated in Rustaq district. He was killed at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 2, in the Qala-e-Gardab area of Rustaq district. Security sources attributed the death to a landmine. The deputy of the Supreme Council for National Reconciliation, however, called his killing “targeted” and said he had been killed by a controlled rocket. Sources aware of his murder also confirmed to 8 Subh that PiramQul Ziayi had been killed in a high-tech drone attack with face recognition. According to the source, although the commander of the popular uprising was between his two bodyguards, the drone directly targeted the left side of his neck and cut off his head with his hand. His bodyguards were slightly injured in the incident. A number of sources in Takhar also call the killing of PiramQul Ziayi an attempt by the Taliban to reduce the rule by the people in those areas and the fall of the area beyond Kokcha. According to the source, the Taliban had previously been unable to seize Panjshir, Badakhshan and the areas beyond Kokcha despite their dominance of the country, and this time they are trying to open their way to the north by weakening the populist leadership there. It is worth mentioning that the Taliban group had previously claimed responsibility for the assassination of PiramQul Ziayi. However, security sources have not yet commented on the incident.
Murder of PiramQul; Ambiguities and dual narratives
The news of the murder of PiramQul Ziayi was published on Sunday, May 2. Takhar police spokesperson, Khalil Aseer said that Amir PiramQul, the commander of the Rustaq people uprising, had joined forces with security forces in operations against the Taliban and captured many villages that day. According to him, the Taliban suffered heavy casualties in the war in which PiramQul was involved. Aseer added that after that, PiramQul Ziayi was killed by a landmine in the village of Qala Gardab. Enayatullah Babur Farahmand, a senior member of the National Islamic Movement party, however, said that PiramQul Ziayi was not killed by a landmine but was targeted by a rocket, and that his killing was a “deliberate and planned assassination.”
Reliable and informed sources who emphasize on preserving their identity say that commander PiramQul was led by a drone equipped with advanced face recognition technology. The incident happened when he wanted to return to a “safe place” with his companions after returning from the battlefield. Ziayi’s two bodyguards were reportedly slightly injured in the incident, but the drone directly targeted him. The source added that the drone’s shot was probably a laser.
Some other sources say that Ziayi’s old mobile phone was connected to a tracker and was targeted right after his phone rang. Thus, what the sources say is that PiramQul Ziayi died not as a result of a landmine explosion, but as a result of a drone strike. Relatives of PiramQul also call the manner in which he was killed an attack with a “guided drone” and say that he was targeted after receiving the call and as a result, half of his head, face and left hand get cut off.
In this incident, Rustaq security manager also sustained a wound, but no one else was injured. According to sources, the attack on PiramQul was “very precise and calculated.” Meanwhile, two years ago, General Nazri Mohammad Niazi, a powerful local commander in Badakhshan, was killed in a very similar incident at the Faizabad football field in Badakhshan. No one else was injured in the attack, and only a special guard was slightly injured. The relatives of Nazari Mohammad Niazi at that time called his murder by air and laser.
Although Takhar security officials say he did not have an antenna phone in the area of Taqail, all local sources deny this and say that he was targeted after receiving a call on his phone. Nazari Mohammad Nabil, head of the Rustaq Clinic, said he examined PiramQul’s body, who was shot in the left side of the head. He added that under the guidance of the director of public health in Takhar, he went to PiramQul’s house with a nurse and another official and examined his body at around 2pm. According to him, a part of Ziayi’s brain and face had been severely disintegrated, which made it impossible to even recognize his face, and his left hand had also been amputated. The doctor says that parts of his abdomen and chest were also superficially damaged due to the impact of the shock wave, but his legs were completely healthy.
It is worth mentioning that the Taliban confirmed the murder of PiramQul Ziayi and claimed responsibility for it.
Who was PiramQul Ziayi?
Mullah PiramQul, the son of Arbab Aadena, was born in 1961 in the village of Hazar Samoch, in the province of Rustaq. He spent his childhood in the Rustaq religious school and was joined by Mullah Nader Sabooryar, the first commander of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan. In the early years of the Jihad, Mullah PiramQul Ziayi was one of the leaders of Mullah Nader Sabooryar and one of the commanders of Hezb-e-Islami, which he disagreed with and permanently severed ties with the party by killing Mullah Ibrahim Abbizani, his classmate from Madrasa, and 26 other leaders of Hezb-e-Islami.
He collaborated with the Jamiat-e-Islami and the Shura-e-Nazar with 250 troops under his command, and gradually became one of the largest military and popular support of Ahmad Shah Massoud in Takhar. During the Jihad and in Rustaq, he was one of the most stubborn Jihadi commanders who fought the Russians, the communist government of the time, and Samad Pacha, the commander of the Takhar Front affiliated with Sazayi’s. He also accompanied Ahmad Shah Massoud on a trip to France and worked with him as a military deputy.
After the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “national hero of the country”, Mullah PiramQul joined the National Islamic Movement party led by General Dostum due to differences with the Jamiat-e-Islami and the Nizar Council and for ethnic interests. He ran for parliament in the 2005 parliamentary elections and represented the people of Takhar in the parliament for five years. After returning to Takhar, PiramQul continued his rule in Rustaq as a powerful local commander working with the government. He is also accused of killing some people. However, popular sources say that the assassination of PiramQul will open new angles of war in Takhar and change the geography of the war against the Taliban.
Consequences of PiramQul’s murder; Taliban’s attempt to gain control of areas beyond Kokcha
PiramQul was the most prominent figure in the anti-Taliban resistance in Takhar and the greatest commander of the popular uprising forces. With a long military and political career, he was one of the closest figures to Ahmad Shah Massoud, the anti-Taliban commander and a great Uzbek popular leader in Takhar, one of the main obstacles to the Taliban.
An informed source in Takhar, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the assassination of PiramQul would open the way for the Taliban and other insurgents, and that his death would make districts beyond Kokcha very vulnerable. According to them, PiramQul was the main stronghold against the Taliban and other terrorist groups in Takhar, especially in Rustaq, and his death was meticulously planned.
The source believes that PiramQul’s death will make all districts beyond Kokcha vulnerable and will open the way for the Taliban to the Oxus River and neighboring countries in northern Afghanistan, especially Tajikistan. He added that the aftermath of PiramQul’s murder was not limited to Rustaq, but that its aftershocks would soon be revealed in Takhar, Kunduz, and the rest of the world because, in their opinion, the process of killing local elders has recently taken shape in the northern regions and could weaken the security of these areas.
According to the source, during the 26-year war with the Taliban, only Panjshir, Badakhshan, and areas beyond Kokcha did not fall into the hands of this group. According to them, the main reason for the killing of ethnic elders in the north is the attempt to make these areas collapse.
Authoritative sources in the security services and the government have not yet commented explicitly on the murder of PiramQul Ziayi, and speculation about his death and those involved in it remains still.